Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mazatlan, Mexico...

It seemed like it was going to be a normal, unadventurous day in Mazatlan.

We took a cab to the other side of the city and went to a beach and resort area that everyone had recommended.


We found a nice restaurant on the beach that had slow but free) wi-fi. Our diet cokes arrived in impossibly large goblets.





We were enjoying some shrimp tacos when a little Mexican man idled up to me and try to get me to rent his jet-ski's. The price was too much so we told him "no".

As we ate, Jo and I noticed that there were a couple different groups offering parasailing. She and I had been talking about wanting to go parasailing at some point on our contract.

The little Mexican man appeared next to me and told us he also did parasailing. He offered us a good price and before we knew it, we were rushed on to the beach and I was strapped into a parachute.

They got me in the parachute and up in the air so fast that I never had a chance to change my mind. Or, take a picture.

Jeannie got a video of me, but no pictures. Here's the video.

Jo went next.


She was whisked away in a flash.


Jeannie's friends Katie and Stephanie went next.





While they were up in the air I could tell Jeannie really wanted to do it too.


Over the past few years Jeannie has really been trying to be adventurous. There are some things that scare her, but she's been doing a really good job of being brave and trying things out. Initially I thought the parasailing would be too scary for her to try, but after doing it myself I knew it was a piece of cake and something she would really enjoy.

After a bit of coxing and reassurance, Jeannie put on the life vest and marched over to the parachute.





Within seconds she was flying through the air enjoying the ride of her life.


She landed and yelled, "I did it!"


We all laughed. We were all proud of her.

It was all very fun. I was surprised that it wasn't the least bit scary. It was very calm and peaceful and relaxing. Very fun.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mazatlan...

Last week when we were in Mazatlan we drove past a man on a bicycle who had a basket on the front of his bike and one on the back.

Inside the basket were chicks dyed in Easter egg colors.


He was riding around the neighborhood selling them to the kids for Christmas.

I looked it up and you actually dye the chicks while they are still in the egg! When they hatch out of the egg they are fully colored.

After a few months their feathers will grow in and they'll return to their natural color.

Dying the chicks doesn't harm them, but it's illegal in most states in the U.S.

When Jeannie saw the chicks in the basket she excitedly screamed and yelled, "Alto! Alto el carro!"

The driver slammed on his brakes and we had to tell him not to stop because we had to get back to the ship.

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Gingerbread House update...

It's not just teenage hooligans eating and destroying the gingerbread houses. Jeannie witnessed 4 fifty-year old ladies ripping the roof off one of the houses so they could eat it.

Crazy.

Jeannie bought a miniature gingerbread House kit for us to make.

Mine came out pretty sloppy.


Jeannie's completely collapsed.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas...

Another Christmas on a cruise ship.



This is the Christmas tree that is positioned on the 4th floor. It's not a high-profile space, but lots of people go by it when we stop at Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

The tree just looks sad. Upon further investigation I figured out why it's so messed up. It's an artificial tree and they didn't bother to put it together correctly. Instead of putting the big branches on the bottom and small branches on the top, they just put the branches on helter skelter. What a mess.

All around the ship are gingerbread houses that the Food and Beverage department created.


Some of them are pretty elaborate.

I mentioned in an earlier post that there were about 700 passengers under the age of 18 on the ship. Well, I was wrong. There are over 900 passengers under the age of 18 on the ship. Some of those under 18 years old wandered around and ate the roofs off of most of the gingerbread houses. It looks like a gingerbread tornado ransacked the entire gingerbread neighborhood.

Today was an embarkation/disembarkation for the ship. Those days are always super chaotic, so Jeannie and I celebrated Christmas yesterday.

(This blog post is being typed on my iPad with the new iPad keyboard Jeannie bought me.)

We did a Christmas show for the passengers and then had dinner with Jo and Jim. It just felt like a very Christmas-like day, so we decided to go ahead and open our presents.

Aside from opening the gifts we got each other, both of our parents managed to send along some gifts to the ship so we were able to open those as well. It was nice.

Today we walked over to the Crown Point Plaza and had dinner and used the internet in the lobby. It was nice to sit and relax and enjoy a nice comfortable chair while surfing the internet. We don't get to do that very often.

The chairs were big and comfy and made Jo look like she was a little kid.


Her feet can't touch the floor when she sits in the chair. Hilarious.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mazatlan...

We're in Mazatlan, Mexico today.

It's our first time visiting here.

Instead of getting out and exploring the city Jeannie, Jo and I signed up to visit an orphanage and a mission to deliver toys to the children who live there.  

To Jo's dismay, Jeannie signed her up to dress up like an elf.  
"Oh boy," Joy said with mock glee as she put on our costume.  "it's every little Jewish girls dream to dress up like a Christmas elf."

The first place we visited was an orphanage on the outskirts of town.  
There were a couple dozen children there.  Jeannie and Jo tried hard to get this guy to crack a smile, but he was too shy.

This girl became great friends with Jo and Jeannie.  
She spoke perfect English and told us how she spent a couple months in San Francisco as a foreign exchange student.  Her favorite thing about the United States was Wendy's hamburgers.  

Santa handed out the gifts and we hung out with the kids for a couple hours.  I mostly shadowed behind Jeannie.  She spoke to the kids in Spanish and was able to communicate with them a lot easier than I could.
We then went to a mission a little deeper in the city.  There were more kids there.

They got great gifts and a fantastic meal.  This little guy really loved his food.
This guy didn't eat any of his food because he didn't want to release his grip from his Christmas present.
It was a nice treat to visit all the cute kids and help them out with some nice gifts.  Jeannie and Jo really jumped in and played and talked with all the kids.

It was all very nice.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Annoyances...

A couple of things that have annoyed me today.

First off, ATM's in Mexico. For the second time a Mexican ATM has ripped me off.

I typed into the machine that I wanted to withdraw 800 peso's, which is around $64 US dollars. The machine spit out 800 peso's liked I asked, BUT the receipt states that I requested and received 1000 peso's!

So, the machine has just stolen 200 peso's from me and there's no way to get it back. The phone number on the receipt isn't reachable and my bank has no way to prove that I didn't receive the 200 peso's the receipt stated I received.

So so infuriating!

Annoyance #2.

If I'm carrying anything in my hands, passengers feel they must, MUST comment on it.

I was carrying a glass of milk in the elevator the other day and 2 passengers almost went into a spasm trying to refrain from asking me about. First the husband saw the milk in my hands and then nudged his wife so that she could take a look at me and my milk. I watched them in the mirror as they stared at me and thoroughly inspected my glass of milk. After 2 excruciating minutes I finally made eye contact with them.

"Milk, huh?" the husband said to me.

"Yep," I responded.

The strain on their faces dissipated and I could see that they were relieved to have finally commented on my milk.

Here are a few more stress filled conversations I've had the past couple of days.

"Laptop?"

My reply, "Yep."

Man shakes his head with amazement. "Laptop on a cruise ship?"

"Yep."

"That's something," he responded.

Another conversation:

"Two bottles of Diet Coke?"

My reply, "Yep."

"You must like Diet Coke."

"I guess so," I answered.

"Interesting," he replied.

But it really wasn't. It wasn't interesting at all. I don't know why the urge to comment on whatever I'm holding torture them so much. But it does. They stare at me and nudge each other and they look like they're going to explode until that final second when I grant them a reprise by politely smiling and making eye contact. That somehow gives them permission to make their mundane comment about the fact that I happen to have a glass of milk in my hands.

I may be a bit testy.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crazy week...

The ship is crazy this week.

Normally we have 1600 passengers on board.  This week we have 2400 passengers on board.

The average age for most of our cruises is usually around 68 years old.  That's because we've been doing 14 and 15 day cruises and those are pretty expensive.

This week we're doing a 7 day cruise.  The average age of our passengers is 44 years old.

Normally, we don't have any people under the age of 18 on our cruises.  Last cruise we only had 8 passengers under the age of 18.  All 8 were under the age of 10.

This cruise, we have 700 passengers under the age of 18.  700!

Everywhere you turn there are hormonally charged teenagers running around and breaking things.  They're kinda driving everyone crazy.

It's all very strange.  The ship is absolutely packed with people.  There's not a quite spot anywhere.

It feels like we're on a completely different ship.

Strange!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cliff Divers...

We are in our third month of cruising on the Star.  So far, it's been an unusual tour of duty as we've only done 8 cruises in 3 months.  Normally by this time we would have done 12 to 13 cruises by this time.

The cruise is the first one we've done where we haven't gone to at least one new place in our itinerary.  This time around, we've been to every port before.

Because of that, we've tried to visit someplace new in all the ports.

Today, we're in Acapulco and Jo, Jeannie and I took a trip to see the world famous Cliff Divers at the Hotel Mirador.
We got there right before their morning show and we picked out a prime spot to view the jumpers.  The spot was so good that all the annoying old people behind us thrust their arms over our shoulders and tried to take pictures with their crappy old cameras.  One guy even stuck his camera right in my face so I couldn't see anything.  I eventually had to gently push it aside.

Before the show started a whale swam up near the cliffs and delighted us all by jumping out of the water 6 or 7 times.  He got some major air and we saw his whole body up out of the water.  At the end of his little show he dove down into the water and flashed his tail for all to see.  I yelled out, "We've got tail!" to Jeannie an Jo and we laughed at the callback to Jeannie's interaction with the passenger in Alaska.

The Cliff Diver's show started and we were amazed to see all the divers climb down the wall where we were standing, swim across to the the other side and then climb up the face of the wall on the other side.

I have no idea how they climbed up the smooth face of that wall.  It was amazing.

They then did 15 minutes of jumping and diving and it was awesome.

So cool.

Afterward we went to our favorite restaurant in Acapulco had a delicious breakfast.

Such a fun day!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The castle...


It wasn't raining in Cartagena today so we attempted to do something a little bit different.

We went to Castillo San Felipe de Barajas.


So cool.








We had a great time storming the old castle.


There were catacombs underneath that we explored.


Afterward, we went downtown.






We enjoyed a delicious, amazing lunch at a great cafe.


We had mint lemonade's.



The food was outstanding.





Another great day in Cartagena!

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cartagena...

We stopped in Cartagena on Wednesday.

To no one's surprise it was raining. This is the rainy season in Colombia.

This Wednesday it was raining especially hard. The streets were flooded everywhere.





Once we got out of the cab we had to wade through the flooded streets to get into the old walled city. On one street a couple of industrious young men had pulled out rocks and wooden planks and built walkways across the water.


It did Jeannie and I no good. We both fell off the thin planks and stepped shin deep into the water.

Inside the walled city it was less flooded, but still very wet.


We found a great little street vendor who sold us some tasty corn-meal dumplings.


We also finally found Jeannie some churro's.


She's been looking for churro's ever since we left Alaska.

As we walked through the city buying street food and doing some Christmas shopping, we noticed that I happened to have made a friend.


That dog followed behind me for quite awhile.


It was a good, but rainy day in our favorite place, Cartagena.


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